The Bucs host the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Here are three things to keep an eye on:
1. Josh Freeman. This could be number-one for quite awhile the way things are going. We’ve heard a lot about #5 recently, and much of it isn’t positive. He was not chosen as a team captain. Then he recently missed the team photo. There are rumblings about his relationship with Greg Schiano. Simply put, Freeman has to have a big game against the Saints, otherwise fans are going to start calling for rookie Mike Glennon to take over.
2. The offensive line. This unit could get a boost if Carl Nicks returns to action, which he claims he’s ready to do. He did not play in the opener due to a MRSA infection. The Bucs need to get Doug Martin and the running game going to take some pressure off Freeman. Speaking of that, the O-line also needs to do a better job in pass protection.
3. The penalties. The Bucs had 13 of them against the Jets for over 100 yards. Five of those penalties resulted in first downs. Then there was that flag on Lavonte David at the end of the game. All of those mistakes gift-wrapped a win for the Jets. If a similar scenario plays out on Sunday, we can only imagine what kind of field day Drew Brees will have.
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The Bucs open the 2013 season on Sunday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Here are three things to keep an eye on:
1. Darrelle Revis. This is the headliner, obviously. He’s playing his first game for Tampa Bay against his former team. The Bucs acquired Revis in exchange for two draft picks just before this year’s draft. Revis is recovering from a serious knee injury, and didn’t play at all in the preseason. But he says he’s ready to go. And why wouldn’t he want a little revenge against his former team?
2. The defense. If the down linemen can’t get any pressure on the quarterback, then Revis, Dashon Goldson and the rest of the secondary can only cover for so long. The Bucs had the worst pass defense in the league last year, and some (but hardly all) of that can be attributed to a lack of sacks. The defensive front will be facing Geno Smith, the rookie out of West Virginia. Some so-called pundits think Tampa Bay is catching a break in that regard. I beg to differ. Much of the buzz in New York has been about Smith, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. But if the Bucs’ defense can’t muster any pass rush, it may not matter.
3. The offense. Last year, Josh Freeman threw for over 4,000 yards. But he’s been inconsistent, especially down the stretch of 2012, when a 6-4 record turned into 7-9 and no playoff berth. He did not play well in the preseason for what it’s worth, and spent a lot of time on his back. We still don’t know if Carl Nicks will be ready to go. Davin Joseph is back after suffering a season-ending injury. This unit has to do a better job of protecting the quarterback. As for Doug Martin? No need to worry about him for the time being.
Kickoff is at 1:00 on FOX. Your announcers are Kevin Burkhardt and former Buc John Lynch.
photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Times
You know the drill when it comes to these preseason games: ignore the final score. Yes, the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins on Saturday night, 17-16. But if you’re a Tampa Bay fan, you can’t be happy with what you saw, especially from the starting offense.
Start with Josh Freeman. He was only 6 for 16 for 59 yards. He lost a fumble that just flat-out fell out of his hand as he was trying to throw. He was sacked five times. You can blame the sacks on a combination of Freeman holding the ball too long, a few dropped passes, and another woeful performance by the offensive line. Davin Joseph saw his first action after missing all of 2012 with a knee injury. But Carl Nicks didn’t play because of a staph infection that affected him and kicker Lawrence Tynes. RB Doug Martin was also held out of action because of an injury in last week’s game against the Patriots.
Injuries aside, the performance of the Tampa Bay offensive starters has not been pretty through three games. And they probably will not see a lot of action in the final preseason game because, well, that’s generally how it goes in the exhibition finale.
We still haven’t seen Darrelle Revis play a single down in the preseason, either. On this night, the defense played alright, especially in the Red Zone.
Still, Freeman’s performance is the thing you take away from this game, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. He’s going to hear boos from the crowd at Ray-Jay if this trend continues.
Photo Courtesy: tampabay.com
Relax. It’s only preseason. At least that’s what I try to keep telling myself.
But it’s hard to find anything joyous about the way the Buccaneers’ starters have played over the first two preseason games.
On Friday night against the Patriots, Josh Freeman was sacked three times in just eight plays. Doug Martin left the game with an injury that, fortunately, doesn’t appear too serious (for what it’s worth, he tweeted “No Worries!!!”) The secondary, worst in the NFL last season, looked every bit like the 2012 group that gave up more passing yards than any other team. For those who actually care about the final score of meaningless games, the Bucs lost to the Pats, 25-21.
I know, I know. Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer, and looked like one on Friday night. There’s no argument there.
Darrelle Revis didn’t play; he should help the secondary. We also didn’t see Carl Nicks or Davin Joseph along the offensive line. They will surely help the pass protection and running game. But there will always be that uncertainty until we actually see these guys back on the field making plays. If everything clicks in three weeks in the Meadowlands, all will quickly be forgotten.
Next week, the Bucs face the Dolphins in Miami. The third preseason game is typically the “dress rehearsal” where the starters play the longest. We shall see.
Photo Courtesy: ctpost.com